What Closed Chase Bank Site?

Analyst Pins Outage on Outdated Technology
What Closed Chase Bank Site?
This week's outage of Chase Bank's online banking service may point to underlying issues with outdated, legacy technology.

The bank's online service went dark on Monday evening. The service, which serves 16.5 million customers at the nation's second-largest bank, apparently was caused by an internal technical problem. The service went down at about 8 p.m. on Monday night and wasn't restored until after 1 a.m. on Wednesday.

Online customers learned of the outage on Tuesday, when they went to Chase's website and found a message saying "Our website is temporarily unavailable. We're working quickly to restore access. Please log on later."

The bank says the outage was due to an internal problem, not any external cause. Chase spokesperson Thomas Kelly says the bank was working on the technical issue on its website. He says that software from a third-party database company corrupted information in its systems and prevented users from logging on. This caused a long recovery process. No customer data was at risk during the outage, Kelly says, and Chase will apologize to affected customers.

Kelly confirmed on Wednesday that the online banking service is back up, "Although reports are coming in that some customers are experiencing delays during log-in, and may have to log-in more than once to get onto the online banking site."

Customers who had late fees charged because of non-payment of online bills during the outage should contact the bank, Kelly says. The bank's more than 15,000 ATMs were not affected by this outage.

Last September, Chase made news when it sent out data breach notification letters to an undisclosed number of customers after a computer tape with customers' personal information was reported missing from a third-party vendor's storage facility.

Legacy Technology to Blame?

One banking expert says the Chase outage is only a part of a problem that many larger institutions face with outdated, legacy systems and technology.

"It's pretty amazing that a website can be down for that long," says Gwenn Bezard, research director at Aite Group. Bezard says a lot of the major banks rely on technology and infrastructure that is "fairly outdated."

Banks may be offering modern applications on the front end, like the recent rollout of Chase's check capture solution for mobile phones, Bezard says. "But the back end is running on legacy systems that are outdated technology ... This may be one of the reasons that it went down and didn't come back up quickly."

Most large banks face the same legacy challenge, Bezard says. "In fact, a lot of these big banks, once you get past the front end, you'll find a lot of old technology and messy architecture. Everyone is struggling with this, and this outage is an illustration of this problem."


About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.




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